Lady's Mantle Tea: Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses
For centuries, European women have been using lady's mantle tea – a caffeine-free tisane made by infusing dried leaves of the Alchemilla vulgaris or related species – to relieve menstrual cramps and to treat sore throats. In Arab countries, this antioxidant-rich herbal infusion has traditionally been used to promote weight loss and to reduce inflammation and gastrointestinal pain. In recent years, also the scientific community has shown interest in the potential health benefits of lady's mantle tea, and some of the traditional medicinal uses of lady's mantle have in fact been substantiated by scientific studies.
Here's a lowdown of the potential beneficial effects of lady's mantle tea:
Weight Loss Aid
In Arab countries, lady's mantle leaves have traditionally been used as a natural weight loss aid. Intrigued by the reputation of lady's mantle as a weight loss promoting herb and three other medicinal plants with purported weight loss benefits, a team of researchers carried out a study to investigate the effects of a herbal mixture containing extracts of lady's mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris L.), cumin, horse mint and olive tree leaves in 66 overweight and obese volunteers. Previously, extracts of lady's mantle and olive leaf had been shown to increase basal metabolic rate (indicative of increased fat burning), while mint and cumin have been used for centuries to suppress appetite and to stimulate digestive enzymes. During the 3-month study period, the volunteers experienced progressive and significant weight loss, suggesting that one or more of the plant extracts included in the formulation may in fact have weight loss promoting properties.
Lady's Mantle Tea as Cough Remedy
Hot drinks, such as herbal tea, are an important part of diets aimed at preventing the common cold. In one study, a team of scientists at the Cardiff University's Common Cold Centre discovered that consumption of a hot drink containing apple and blackcurrant juice immediately reduced common cold symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose, cough, and sneezing. These effects were not observed when the same juice mixture was consumed at room temperature, suggesting that in this case it was merely the temperature of the drink that made it effective against common cold symptoms.
In folk medicine, lady's mantle tea has been used as a remedy for sore throats, and considering the findings of the Cardiff University study, it seems reasonable to assume that lady's mantle tea may indeed help relieve common cold symptoms such as a sore throat or cough simply due to its high temperature. But new evidence suggests that lady's mantle tea may also have sore throat combating properties that are not linked to the temperature of this herbal infusion. A study published in the journal Drug Discoveries & Therapeutics found that an extract derived from Alchemilla mollis (one of the many varieties of lady's mantle) had inhibitory activity against several subtypes of influenza A virus (H1N1, H3N2, and H5N2). Lady's mantle extract was also shown to boost the inhibitory effects of zanamivir, a prescription drug used to treat the flu (influenza types A and B).
Tip: For maximum benefits, sweeten lady's mantle tea with cough-suppressing buckwheat honey.
Lady's Mantle – A Medicinal Plant with Strong Antioxidant Properties
Drinking lady's mantle tea is a great way to keep your antioxidant levels up while enjoying a caffeine-free hot beverage. A Bulgarian study published in the November 2006 issue of the journal Phytotherapy Research found that an infusion made by steeping dried lady's mantle leaves in hot water had the strongest antioxidant activity among the tested herbal infusions, as determined by the ABTS method. This study assessed the antioxidant activity of infusions of 23 medicinal plants, including pot marigold flowers, barberries, leaves of wild celery, tarragon, bilberries, spearmint and basil.
Traditional Uses (Beyond Prevention of Menstrual Cramps)
If you ask a herbalist about the health benefits of lady's mantle tea, you will likely hear something about the use of lady's mantle as a natural remedy for menstrual problems or other hormone-dependent conditions affecting women. In herbalism, lady's mantle is commonly used to prevent and treat menstrual cramps, excessive menstrual bleeding, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. Proponents of herbal and folk remedies may also recommend lady's mantle tea for muscle spasms, diarrhea, nausea and certain gastrointestinal disorders. However, scientific evidence is currently lacking to support these traditional uses.
1. O. Said et el (2008). Weight Loss in Animals and Humans Treated with 'Weighlevel',a Combination of Four Medicinal Plants Used In Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine. eCAM Advance Access published October 24, 2008.
2. J. Makau, K. Watanabe and N. Kobayashi (2013). Anti-influenza activity of Alchemilla mollis extract: Possible virucidal activity against influenza virus particles. Drug Discoveries & Therapeutics, 7(5), 189-195.
3. Y. Kiselova et al (2006). Correlation between the In Vitro antioxidant activity and polyphenol content of aqueous extracts from bulgarian herbs. Phytotherapy Research, 20(11), 961-965.